American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States. By . Wilson; with ... American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States. By . Wilson; with ... American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States. By . Wilson; with ... American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States. By . Wilson; with ...

American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States. By . Wilson; with a continuation by . Bonaparte . the illustrative notes, and life of Wilson, by Sir William Jardine

WILSON, Alexander (1766-1813), and Charles Lucian BONAPARTE (1803-57)

Published by Whittaker, Treacher & Arnot and Stirling & Kenney, London & Edinburgh, 1832
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From Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA) (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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(8 5/8 x 5 1/2 inches). Uncoloured engraved portrait frontispiece of Wilson by W.H. Lizars after John Watson Gordan, 96 hand-coloured engraved plates by Lizars after Wilson, Titian Peale and Alexander Rider, and J.J. Audubon (one bird). Contemporary half green morocco and marbled paper covered boards, spines with raised bands in six compartments, lettered in gilt, yellow endpapers, top edge gilt (hinges reinforced) Provenance: Louis Bennett Bishop (armorial ink stamp on endpapers) The first Jardine edition of a key work in the study of American birds. Alexander Wilson was the first ornithologist to undertake a systematic study of the birds of America. Wilson, who was born in Scotland, turned to the study of American ornithology full time in 1802 under the tutelage of William Bartram. At the time of the appearance of the first part of his grand work in 1807, no similar study in any branch of natural science had yet been undertaken in America, and only one colour-plate book of any scope had been published in the infant nation (Birch's Views of Philadelphia). Between 1808 and 1813 Wilson managed, after overcoming innumerable difficulties, to travel over much of the United States collecting material whilst also managing his ambitious publication. He died in 1813, exhausted by his task, and the final parts of the first edition of his work were eventually seen through the press by his friend George Ord. After the defeat of Napoleon, various members of the Bonaparte family took refuge in America, including his nephew, Prince Charles Lucian Bonaparte. The young Bonaparte proved to be an ornithological prodigy, and undertook the writing of a supplement to Wilson, which was completed in 1833. The contemporary importance of Wilson's work can be judged by the fact that the present edition -- edited and with a biography of Wilson by famed ornithologist Sir William Jardine -- was published the year before the appearance of the final volume of the Bonaparte supplement. This first Jardine edition contains all of Wilson's work and the first three volumes of Bonaparte's continuation, with all plates re-engraved to scale by Lizars. "This is by far the best edition of the American Ornithology, both on account of the beautiful plates and the most interesting notes of the editor" (Neville Wood, quoted in Allibone, A Critical Dictionary of English Literature). Anker 534; Nissen IVB 996; Wood p.630; Zimmer 693; Frank L. Burns, "Alexander Wilson. [Part] VII: Biographies, Portraits, and a Bibliography of the Various Editions of his Works" in The Wilson Bulletin, Vol. XXI, No. 4 (December, 1909), p.181. Bookseller Inventory # 30519

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Bibliographic Details

Title: American Ornithology; or, the Natural ...

Publisher: Whittaker, Treacher & Arnot and Stirling & Kenney, London & Edinburgh

Publication Date: 1832

Binding: 3 volumes, octavo

Edition: 1st Edition

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